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Pauline Anna Strom Dies, Aged 74
Christian Eede , December 14th, 2020 18:23

The San Francisco-based artist had recently announced her first album in 30 years

Pauline Anna Strom has died, aged 74.

The news of her passing was confirmed today (December 14) by RVNG Intl., the label that had released a retrospective of her past work, called Trans-Millenia Music, in 2017 and is due to release her first album in 30 years, Angel Tears In Sunlight, early in 2021. No cause of death has been given.

A statement shared by the label says: "A companion across time, our Trans Millenia Consort. Pauline Anna Strom, or Paula when you got to know her, was both made for our unusual present time and completely, cosmically out of step with it. She lived an intentionally hermetic and therefore extraordinary life in all that she accomplished, fiercely independent despite her visual impairment.

"It did not clock when Paula failed to return a voicemail I left this past Friday to coordinate another interview around her forthcoming album. We had been in touch so frequently over the past several months with this new music on the horizon that I'd clearly taken her availability for granted.

"While Paula's recovery from a fall in early 2019 that resulted in a broken hip and intensive surgery took the time needed, her health appeared otherwise fine. I visited her in San Francisco earlier this year before the world went sideways to verify this, and she remained dutifully locked down and in place through the pandemic to avoid risk to exposure.

"So, the suddenness of loss makes her passing all the more devastating. While there were certainly stretches of time over the past decade when I might not hear from her (or her from me), her force was always felt invariably if not in mysterious ways. This same energy has attracted so many listeners to Paula's music and world-building, and will continue to endure and evolve."

Born blind in 1946, Strom grew up as part of a Catholic family in Louisiana and Kentucky, moving to the Bay Area in the early 1970s. It was there that she begun to acquire a number of synths and started working on music from her apartment, capturing her experiments with a Tascam four-track recorder.

Strom released her first album, Trans-Millenia Consort, in 1982, with six more records following through the 1980s, before she retreated from producing music altogether. Selling much of her gear in the wake of her decision to step back from releasing music, she continued to live in the same San Francisco apartment in the decades that followed, alongside her beloved pet iguanas, Little Soulstice and Ms Huff.

Returning to music in recent years, inspired by renewed attention around her past work thanks to the 2017 release of Trans-Millenia Music, Strom acquired a number of new instruments, resulting in a new album, Angel Tears In Sunlight, which was announced by RVNG Intl. just last month.

Dedicating that album to her friend John Jennings who passed away during its making, Strom said that she titled the work to reflect the summation of processing life and loss. "Sunlight represents what we're coming into. You bring the sadness with you, but you're also prepared for the blessing of the new."